Joe Rogan Experience #1413 - Bill Maher | Summary and Q&A

January 17, 2020
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Joe Rogan Experience #1413 - Bill Maher


Bill Maher discusses the evolution of comedy, the challenges of the modern media landscape, and the impact of political correctness.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How has the format of Bill Maher's show "Real Time" changed over the years?

Bill Maher explains that "Real Time" used to have multiple seasons but has transitioned into one long season due to the nature of the show being a live, event-based program that requires consistency.

Q: Has Bill Maher ever considered hosting a revival of "Politically Incorrect"?

Bill Maher mentions that someone has approached him about reviving "Politically Incorrect," but he has no interest in taking over his own show or stepping back into that role.

Q: Does Bill Maher feel constrained by the time format of his show?

Bill Maher admits that sometimes he does feel constrained by the time format of his show as there are often discussions that he wishes could be longer and more in-depth.

Q: How does Bill Maher view the attention span of the American audience?

Bill Maher believes that the American audience has a divided attention span, with some people having short attention spans and others being able to focus for longer periods of time. However, he acknowledges that there is a trend towards shorter attention spans overall.


In this video, Bill Maher has a conversation with a guest in his man cave. They discuss various topics such as Maher's show, politically incorrect, the changing format of TV shows, the prevalence of comics, and their own experiences and opinions on different matters.

Questions & Answers

Q: How long has Bill Maher's show been on HBO?

The show started on HBO in 2003, but it took a while for them to realize that it needed to be on most of the year. They used to do two seasons, but eventually switched to one long season.

Q: Did Bill Maher ever consider doing a reboot of his previous show, politically incorrect?

He did suggest the idea of bringing back politically incorrect with a different host, but he is not personally interested in doing it. He feels it's better to leave a show as it is and not try to recreate it with someone new.

Q: Does Bill Maher feel constrained by the format of his show, considering the short attention span of audiences?

Maher acknowledges that people's attention spans seem to be either very short or very long. He prefers the format of his show where he can condense and cover important topics within a limited time, keeping the audience engaged. However, he also admits that there are merits to allowing conversations to breathe and go on for longer.

Q: Has Bill Maher ever considered making his show's conversations longer, especially with the rise of streaming services?

Maher agrees that some conversations on his show feel cut off too soon and could benefit from being longer. He mentions that the way things are going with streaming services, there might be an opportunity to have extended conversations in the future.

Q: How does Bill Maher choose which topics to cover on his show?

Maher's goal is to cover everything he thinks is important and should be known by his audience. He aims to entertain, but also educate his viewers about current events. He doesn't necessarily focus on what traditional media deems important, but rather covers what he believes to be truly significant.

Q: Does Bill Maher feel that there is an oversaturation of stand-up comics in the industry?

Maher mentions how he listens to comics on the radio and constantly comes across names of talented comedians he has never heard of before. He observes that there is a high number of competent stand-ups who might have followings but remain relatively unknown.

Q: Does Bill Maher go to comedy clubs often?

Yes, Maher frequently visits comedy clubs and enjoys being around other comedians. He finds it a great way to stay sharp and values the opportunity to interact with his fellow comics.

Q: Did Bill Maher ever consider turning his book, "True Story," into a movie?

Maher expresses that he did consider turning his book into a movie at one point. He discusses how he worked hard on making every sentence and paragraph funny and revealing. However, he ultimately feels that it would have been challenging to capture the essence of stand-up comedy in a film.

Q: Is Bill Maher familiar with the work of director Steve McQueen?

Maher initially confuses the director Steve McQueen with the actor of the same name but is then reminded of the director's accomplishments, such as "12 Years a Slave" and "Widows."

Q: How does Bill Maher feel about older films, like those made by Alfred Hitchcock?

Maher mentions how some older films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's, can feel slow-paced and fail to capture the attention of today's audience. He notes that people's attention spans have changed, which may explain the difference in engagement with older films compared to modern ones.

Q: How does Bill Maher approach his stand-up routines?

Maher no longer memorizes his routines but uses a music stand with his bullet points on stage. This approach allows him to get to exactly what he wants to say without the need for memorization. He admits that he dislikes comics who constantly ask the audience, "What else?" when they run out of material.


Bill Maher reminisces about his experience working on politically incorrect and highlights the changing landscape of TV shows. He discusses the oversaturation of stand-up comics and how he stays sharp by visiting comedy clubs. Maher also shares his thoughts on the effects of technology, such as easy access to porn, on today's generation. Overall, the conversation offers interesting insights into the world of comedy and the prevalent societal trends.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Bill Maher reflects on the history of his show, "Politically Incorrect," and the changes in comedy over the years.

  • He discusses the challenges of navigating the modern media landscape and the pressure to be politically correct.

  • Maher emphasizes the importance of condensing information and providing insightful commentary in his show.

  • He shares his thoughts on the rise of streaming services and the difference between short attention spans and long-form conversations.

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